U.S. Customs and Border Protection has selected Ms. AnnMarie R. Highsmith as Executive Assistant Commissioner and Mr. John P. Leonard as Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Trade.
As stewards of CBP’s trade mission, Ms. Highsmith and Mr. Leonard will oversee CBP’s efforts to facilitate trade and to safeguard America’s national and economic security by creating a level playing field for U.S. businesses, reducing the costs of trade, and protecting American consumers from illicit and unsafe goods.
“Executive Assistant Commissioner Highsmith’s expertise in customs law and experience enhancing the enforcement of those laws make her uniquely qualified to lead CBP’s trade modernization efforts,” said Troy Miller, the CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner. “Under Executive Assistant Commissioner Highsmith’s leadership, I am confident that the CBP Office of Trade will continue to strengthen America’s national security and economic prosperity.”
Ms. Highsmith had served as CBP’s Deputy Chief Counsel since 2013. As the chief operating officer of one of the government’s premier legal teams, Ms. Highsmith enhanced CBP’s enforcement of trade laws designed to protect U.S. consumers and businesses. She also aligned customs procedures with modern business practices to enhance the economic competitiveness of the United States.
In addition to her service with CBP, Ms. Highsmith served as Acting Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (2020) and Acting Associate General Counsel for General Law at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2013). Ms. Highsmith received the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2017.
Ms. Highsmith joined the Senior Executive Service in 2006 and began her legal career in 1992 as a staff attorney with the U.S. Customs Service in Long Beach, California. She holds a juris doctorate and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University.
Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner Leonard began his career with the legacy U.S. Customs Service in 1989. During his 30-year tenure with CBP and the U.S. Customs Service, Mr. Leonard served as CBP Attaché to Singapore, Area Port Director of San Francisco and, since 2017, he has led CBP’s strategic efforts on intellectual property rights, antidumping and countervailing duties, import safety, and textiles. He also led the Office of Trade as Acting Executive Assistant Commissioner from March to June 2021.